Gyumri, the second-largest city of Armenia, is located in the northwestern part of the country. It’s not a very touristic destination, even though it has a lot of history and a rich mixed culture and different traditions.
One of the main reasons as to why many travellers decide to stop here is because it’s on their way to Georgia but some of them decide to stay longer once they have met the locals, known for their hospitality and good sense of humor.
On 11th December 1988, Armenia was devastated by the Spitak earthquake and Gyumri suffered major damage: many Soviet factories, historical and cultural monuments and publics buildings were destroyed, approximately 50,000 people died and many citizens became homeless.
Despite the tragedy, Gyumri is slowly improving. The buildings in Kumayri, the old core of town, are restored and you can find authentic examples of the Armenian urban architecture. However, the other neighborhoods are still under construction.
Not that far from the closed border with Turkey, you can visit two of Gyumri’s many attractions: the abandoned Black Fortress (“Sev Berd” in Armenian) built by the Russians at the beginning of 19th century and the monumental statue of the Mother of Armenia, protecting her sons since 1975. Both were constructed as a response to the Turkish hostility.
If you are interested in Soviet era art and design, you can visit a complex of apartments and a very unique black iron fountain close to the new Charles Aznavour square, in the northern part of Gyumri.
Description and images from Emerson Mendoza Ayala published in AWAYN’s website.
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